Officer Eugene Goodman, already lauded for his heroic actions during the attack at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, received the Congressional Gold Medal on Friday.
The Senate voted — by unanimous consent, meaning there were no objections — to award Congress’s highest honor to Goodman as the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump concluded in the evening.
The move elicited rare bipartisan support and a rousing standing ovation for Goodman, who was in the chamber during much of the proceedings. He put his hand on his heart.
“In the weeks after the attack on Jan. 6, the world learned about the incredible, incredible bravery of Officer Goodman on that fateful day,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said.
Schumer then referenced a powerful video played by House impeachment managers showing his heroic acts, which, among other things, included directing Utah Sen. Mitt Romney away from the angry mob that had just breached the Capitol before he confronted the group himself.
The video showed “his calmness under pressure, his courage in the line of duty, his foresight in the midst of chaos and his willingness to make himself a target of the mob’s rage, so that others might reach safety,” Schumer said.
Goodman became a national hero after video shot by HuffPost reporter Igor Bobic showed his response to rioters climbing the stairs near an entrance to the U.S. Senate chamber. With no other officers to be seen, he takes a half step to his left at the top of the stairs, then walks to the right, away from the chamber. The mob follows him into a room where other officers wait.
The rioters got as close as 100 feet to Vice President Mike Pence, but Goodman helped guide them away from where he and his family were hiding.
“If not for the quick-thinking and bravery of Officer Eugene Goodman, in particular, people in this chamber may not have escaped that day unharmed,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said. “Officer Goodman’s actions reflect a deep personal commitment to duty and brought even greater distinction upon all his brave brothers and sisters in uniform.”
Goodman has not spoken publicly about his actions that day. He escorted Vice President Kamala Harris to her place at the inauguration ceremony.
Romney said that until he saw the footage of Goodman pointing him to safety during the trial, he hadn’t known the officer’s identity.
“I was very fortunate indeed that Officer Goodman was there to get me in the right direction,” the senator said.
After Goodman was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, Romney tweeted the following: “The heroic actions of U.S. Capitol Police officers and agents saved the lives of all of us inside the Capitol on January 6. My family and I are especially grateful that Officer Eugene Goodman directed me to safety that day. This is an honor befitting his tremendous bravery.”